Now, you may have noticed that this is slightly different from last year’s list, “The Top 5 Hit Songs of 2013.” Essentially, I have a lot of less successful songs that I want to talk about, so I tweaked the name of the list. Now, this refers to songs that were released as a single in 2014. So, if it was on an album, but not released as a single, it doesn’t count. And if it was released last year and only became popular this year, it also doesn’t count. So without further adieu, here we go.
10. CENTURIES by Fall Out Boy
When Fall Out Boy made their big comeback last year, people were skeptical. Fall Out Boy has always been a hit-or-miss band, and a pretty messy break-up and a pretty messy Patrick Stump seemed to indicate things wouldn’t work out for the best. Then their big comeback single came out, “Light ‘Em Up.” It was awful. But it was also popular. So popular, in fact, that the album Save Rock and Roll went to #1 in 27 countries, and the song managed to hit #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, which re-cemented Fall Out Boy’s place in the mainstream. Luckily, the lead single off their next album was much better. With soaring vocals, memorable lyrics, and a catchy, anthemic hook, this song is sure to gain a spot in Fall Out Boy’s greatest hits.
9. LOVE RUNS OUT by OneRepublic
When OneRepublic first broke into the public eye with their monster hit “Apologize,” they were just awful. Their lyrics were vapid, and lead singer Ryan Tedder was just not into it at all. But they improved themselves. With each subsequent hit, they slowly improved, and by 2009’s “Secrets,” they earned the coveted title of “good song by an overall blah band.” But they kept going. Their next hit, “Good Life,” was good enough to change people’s minds about the group as a whole, and with 2013’s “Counting Stars,” they became something no one ever suspected OneRepublic to be: experimental. They developed a unique, mystical sound that no one else on the radio had. And the climax of all their efforts is “Love Runs Out.” The tribal sound, the thought-provoking yet catchy chorus, it all just comes together beautifully.
8. UPTOWN FUNK by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
I like funk. It’s just my style. And I especially like how people like Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams, and Bruno Mars are bringing funk back into the mainstream. Case in point, “Uptown Funk.” This is a song that just makes me happy. I just can’t help but dance every time I hear it. It would probably be quite a bit higher on the list if the lyrics weren’t so inept. But this song isn’t really about the lyrics. This song is about Mark Ronson, and his ability to make a stellar throwback beat that you can’t help but dance to. Uptown funk you up indeed.
7. TAKE ME TO CHURCH by Hozier
Alright, this song apparently became popular on YouTube some time this year, and this was the first anyone had heard of Hozier. If that’s the case, I must say, off to a great start. “Take Me to Church” is beautiful, poignant, creepy, and overall a unique experience. I’m sure you’ve heard it by now, and I’m sure you already know why it’s good, so there ya go. Hope to see more of you very soon, Hozier.
6. RUCKUS IN B MINOR by Wu-Tang Clan
Now, I can’t actually figure out whether or not this was ever released as a single, but they performed it on a bunch of talk shows to promote the album and it was available before the album was, so whatever. When the Wu-Tang Clan announced they’d be releasing their album (singular), people were pretty skeptical. But when they put out this killer single, that’s when they started to get more optimistic. After all, the album is called A Better Tomorrow. And this song seems to be a good omen of things to come. There is never a dull moment in this song. Everyone brings their A game, and they work off each other beautifully. This track was the Wu out to prove that they were, as the chorus says, still #1.
5. GOOD KISSER by Usher
For a while, people were predicting that this would be the song of the summer. And with good reason. It’s catchy, sexy, it’s got a really unique sound, and it’s by proven hitmaker Usher. I don’t really know where things went wrong, but I guess not every song can be a hit. Regardless, this is a great song.
4. i by Kendrick Lamar
This is a song that a lot of people were wary about when it first came out. It’s a lot more upbeat and sing-songy than Kendrick’s previous work. But over time, it caught on, and now here it is at #4. This song mixes a fun, guitar-heavy hook reminiscent of Andre 3000 with Kendrick’s trademark lyricism and delivery, making just the self-empowerment song that hip-hop needed.
3. DETROIT VS EVERYBODY by Eminem, Royce Da 5’9″, Dej Loaf, Big Sean, and Danny Brown
SHADYXV isn’t a very good album, but it certainly has its moments. And at no point does the album shine more than this lyrical powerhouse. The song starts off with a nice, powerful beat and a catchy, if nonsensical, chorus by Dej Loaf. First up is Royce Da 5’9″, who has a bit of a jumbled flow, but some pretty good lyrics backing it up. Next is Big Sean, who has shown tremendous growth as an artist since his 2011 hit, “ASS.” His verse is funny, fast, and well-put, though it’s a bit hard to tell through Sean’s lazy delivery. After that comes Danny Brown, whose annoying voice and simple flow make him probably the weakest link in this all-around great song. That being said, his lyrics are still pretty good. Which brings us to the crown jewel of this anthem: Eminem, a man at the top of his game. This might be one of my favorite verses of his, to be quite frank. His flow is insane, his lyrics are great, his rhyme scheme is great… it all just fits together so well. Overall, a triumphant, though somewhat flawed, anthem for the ages.
2. SUNDAY CANDY by the Social Experiment
For those of you that don’t know, the Social Experiment is Chance the Rapper’s band, and this is a single off their upcoming album, Surf. It’s a joyful, gospel-inspired ballad about love and religion, sort of the opposite of “Take Me to Church.” Chance delivers two great verses, Jamila Woods delivers an excellent chorus, and Donnie Trumpet and the band are amazing on the beat. It’s another song that just really makes you feel good.
Before I get to my #1 pick, here’s some honorable mentions:
Blockbuster Night Part 1 by Run the Jewels
Move That Dope by Future ft. Pusha T and Pharrell Williams
Turn Down for What by DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon
Sanctified by Rick Ross ft. Kanye West and Big Sean
Sweatpants by Childish Gambino ft. Problem
And now, the #1 song of the year…
#1. ***FLAWLESS (Remix) by Beyonce ft. Nicki Minaj
Beyonce releasing her self-titled album unannounced on Christmas Day last year had some advantages and disadvantages. It was certainly a surprise, but it meant that the album wouldn’t be appearing on any end-of-the-year lists, most of which had already been out. But it did allow Beyonce to dominate the year in music, with hits like “Drunk in Love,” “Partition,” and of course, “***Flawless.” Bey delivers a pretty impressive verse, and a fittingly boastful chorus, but the real moneymaker on the song is Nicki, who delivers one of her best verses to date and eliminates whatever doubt there was that she is the current queen of rap. “Flawless.” There is no substitute.
So, those are my favorite songs of the year. I’ll have a worst list out soon enough, along with a constant barrage of other articles recapping the past year. Like this post if you like it, follow me if you follow me, you can also follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, give all these songs a listen if you haven’t heard them yet, and as always…
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